As temperatures drop, we drape our children in warm woollens and nourish them with hot soups and warm milk. Yet, all our precautions may not be enough to fight the cold. In this article, we cover a few tips on how to soothe unwell children and the correct way to administer over-the-counter medicines in case of common cold, cough or a sore throat.
In case of fever: Feeling the forehead or neck is not enough, use a thermometer to check and if the fever is more than 100.2 or more, visit/ call the doctor. Check with a doctor even if the temperature is lower in case of babies less than a year old. Note that body temperature rises after vaccination. In other cases, it is safe to use ibuprofen or acetaminophen meant for children. Never give aspirin to children as it may trigger a rare yet serious illness named ‘Reye’s syndrome’ which affects the liver and brain.
Ways to bring down a fever: Sponge bath using lukewarm water is best, avoid using cold water or ice. Dress kids up in comfortable and breathable clothes, preferably cotton. Keep them warm but do not pile on blankets. Keep kids well hydrated with water and fruit juices. If the child is not urinating enough, isn’t feeding or has a dry mouth/ tongue, call the doctor immediately.
When to call the paediatrician: Always speak to a doctor if your child is less than a year old. For all ages, speak or visit the doctor if the fever persists for two days. If you notice yellow or green nasal mucous or a discharge from the eyes, visit the doctor immediately. Note that if a child has breathing trouble, has a rash, is feeling very sick/ giddy or is vomiting, it calls for an emergency.
Does chicken soup really help? : Fluids such as water, juice, milk, electrolytes and tender coconut water are essential to beat dehydration during sickness. Chicken soup is a time-tested home remedy as it not only provides nutrition but also helps reduce inflammation while preventing dehydration.
Other home remedies: Steam inhalation with or without eucalyptus oil relieves a stuffy nose and so does a hot shower. Menthol vapours and rubs help loosen mucus which can be coughed out but should not be used for children below two years. Using petroleum jelly around the nose soothes dry and irritated skin.
Coughs are usually the result of sore throats caused by colds and last for about five days. Warm water with honey and lemon eases a sore throat. Older kids may suck on lozenges containing anaesthetic to reduce pain. Gargling with warm salt water is effective as well.
Administering medicines: Never resort to over-the-counter medication for children under six as it may cause serious harm. For older children, follow the directions as per height and weight using the measuring device provided with the medication. Always refer to the symptoms while choosing a medicine: a stuffy nose and a runny nose are two different symptoms and their medicines differ. Also, do not over-drug them by giving two different medicines with similar ingredients for two separate symptoms. Never alternate between acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Choose one of the two.
Handling doses with children: It is ok to miss a dose of over-the-counter medicine if the child is sleeping since rest is the best remedy. This should NEVER be done in case of antibiotics prescribed by the doctor.
If medicine is vomited out, refrain from giving another dose and speak to your doctor for instructions. If your child detests the taste of the medicine, check with your doctor if you may mix it with any food or drink.
Never resort to medicines meant for adults if you do not have a kid’s medication handy.
Never refer to medicines as candy or use vitamins as a reward.
- Sheetal Bidaye
- December 2, 2016
- 2 Comment